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I write about masculinity, fatherhood, family, and relationships.

I gave him a good life, but I also give him a hard time. It’s a balance.

There’s been a meme floating around for a month or two that shows a row of five numbered chicken wings, each one a little more stripped of meat than the last. Number one has a single small bite taken out of it; number five looks like it’s been dug up by a paleontologist. The punchline is that you can tell a lot about someone’s upbringing based on the amount of meat left on the bone.

My 11-year-old son and I both love wings, but we are on opposite ends of this chart. On the cleaned chicken bone scale, I’m…


When a hiking trip goes wrong, assuming the worst about people does no one any good

A sign on the Centennial trail that reads: Do Not Enter, Dangerous Overlook.
A sign on the Centennial trail that reads: Do Not Enter, Dangerous Overlook.

I’d loaded my pack and set out on a hike into the Black Hills to clear my head. I was 955 miles into that spiritual journey when I got lost.

Granted, I’d spent 950 of those miles driving from Chicago to South Dakota, but it certainly sounds better than admitting that I managed to get lost five miles into a 100-mile hike.

The plan had been to spend two weeks backpacking alone on the Centennial Trail — one of many trails nationwide of the same name. …


This is great, Franklin. I'm trying to build up to 20 mile a day. Last year I averaged 12 miles a day on a week-long trip. But that was largely dictated by time and campsites, although I was tired at the end of every day. I'm going to do better this year. Love tying it to Stoic philosophy.


I saw your tweet thread. Was happy to see this here. Much respect to you. I'm one of those men that believe it is up to men to convince each other that we need to do better.


When you’re drinking too much, but not so much that anyone notices.

Last weekend, I ended thirty days without drinking. It was originally supposed to be a Dry January, like I did last year, but a number of things, including the stress of the quarantine and the election, made me push it back a week.

So, naturally, I started the day the insurrectionists stormed the Capitol Building.

Here’s why.

Like a lot of people recently, I’m fortunate enough to work from home. But that has put me in close proximity to the liquor cabinet. …


I am grateful that I can weather the storm.

And the snow just keeps falling. It’s nothing that I haven’t seen before, but we’re in that phase where new snow covers the old, this layer as soft as down — Hollywood snow — but beneath it is packed and crusty, interspersed with road grime and salt and ice.

What seems new to me is the cold and the snow coming together. I don’t think it has been above thirty degrees in two weeks, but the snow just keeps on falling. “Too cold to snow” has been a hope that at least gives a respite from one or the other…


Reminiscing about the bad old days.

For the last couple of years, I’ve found myself visiting the neighborhood of my youth. I didn’t like it there, I don’t have a lot of fond memories of being there, and I was glad to get out of there.

So why do I seem to miss the place?

This week I visited the library. I’ve been there several times over the years and I actually do have fond memories of it, having spent a lot of hours there as a kid, reading books and magazines and keeping cool when it was hot outside. …


Second Grade is awfully young to be a dirtbag.

Some years ago, when my son was in the second grade, he went through a phase where he declared things he didn’t like to be “So gay”. I considered something but figured it was just another school fad that would pass, like that goldfish swallowing thing in the 1930’s or the 60% high school dropout rate in the 1980's.

But still.

Broccoli? “So gay”.

Bedtime? “So gay”.

Baths? “So gay”.

And it wasn’t just just things that started with B, either.

So, of course, I let him get away with it for too long. But when he compared being gay…


My little boy demands his respect. When my son was eight years old, I’d often call him a scrub, due to his losing record in our playfights.

Facebook 1/10/2016:

Today…


It’s so easy to get caught up in doing things “right” that you can forget the value in getting things done.

It’s been over a year since I surprised myself by making a simple wooden bench.

Doing such things makes you think you can do other things, so I have.

Some nice planters for my wife’s quarantine garden.

Several bin storage shelves.

A side gate to secure a path onto my three-unity property that neither we nor our tenants ever use. I actually considered making this out of wrought-iron which would have required me to weld the frame together. …

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